Changing at the Gym

squat rack
Photo credit:

Ouch. No, it’s a good “ouch”. I’m sore from this morning’s workout.

Wife and daughter came home yesterday afternoon and everything got quickly back to normal. Thus I woke up around 3 a.m. and tossed and turned until about 3:40 when I decided to get up.

I did my usual routine and was out the door at a quarter of 5 looking forward to lifting at the gym. That said, my head didn’t truly get into the game until I was actually standing in front of the squat rack and realized I’d better get busy.

Sometimes lifting a 45 pound plate from its peg near the floor up to where the empty barbell is set in the squat rack seems like an effort all by itself. It’s probably just because I’m still half asleep. I don’t think I really wake up until I position my traps under the loaded barbell, stand to lift it off of the pegs, and do my walk back.

For heavier lifts with bigger muscles, I rested 90 to 120 seconds or so, but for triceps extensions, I held the rest down to a minute between sets. This is my only Workout A for this week.

Barbell Back Squats in Squat Rack

8x 135lbs/61.235kg
8x 160lbs/72.5748kg
8x 185lbs/83.9146kg
8x 185lbs/83.9146kg

Barbell Bench Press

8x 115lbs/52.16kg
8x 135lbs/61.23kg
8x 150lbs/68.0389kg
8x 150lbs/68.0389kg

bent over rows
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Barbell Bent Over Row

8x 115lbs/52.16kg
8x 135lbs/61.23kg
8x 150lbs/68.0389kg
8x 150lbs/68.0389kg

Cable Triceps Extension w/Rope

8x 55lbs/24.9476kg
8x 65lbs/29.4835kg
8x 85lbs/38.5554kg
8x 85lbs/38.5554kg

Pull ups (Bodyweight)


Zercher Squats in Squat Rack (Bonus)

6x 155lbs/70.3068kg
5x 185lbs/83.9146kg
5x 195lbs/88.4505kg

Just like Monday and my first Workout B session, I didn’t do anything fancy or anything extra during my regular program. I noticed that it was harder for me to get down low at my full working weight for squats, but I managed.

Warm up weights for the bench press went fine but I really had to concentrate to get the bar even somewhat near my chest at the working weight and be sure I could successfully push it up for 8 reps for the two working sets.

Even the warm up sets for bent over rows had me panting and sweating, and I saw that for my working sets, I was pulling up my torso and using my legs to help the lift. 150 pounds for these rows seems to be my limit for 8 reps and truth be told, maybe even just a little bit too heavy. I may have to “de-couple” the weights for the bench press and bent over row. My back seems to want to go a little bit lighter.

I thought I wasn’t going to make a full 8 reps for my triceps extensions at 85 pounds and I’m sure my delts were as engaged as my triceps during working sets.

pull ups
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As I stood under the pull up bars, I felt exhausted. The three barbell exercises took a lot out of me so that I was pretty winded even after the triceps extensions. I waited a full 2 minutes before I attempted my first set of pull ups.

You can see by the numbers that I managed to meet my minimum goals for bodyweight pull ups but just barely. The last rep of the last set was a struggle, and I hung there for 5 or 10 seconds pulling as hard as I could so I could see over the bar.

I was surprised to find that I had about 15 minutes left on the clock, so decided to put in some zercher squats. I still needed to rest after loading up the bar for the first set but then I stepped into the squat rack and engaged the barbell.

I did more weight for zercher squats than I ever have before in the last set, but I kept the number of reps down rather than completely wipe myself out.

No wonder I feel sore now.

When I got to work and got out of the car, I could really feel it in my thighs and glutes as I stood up. It’s going to be interesting getting up and sitting down at the office today.

As far as this week goes, I feel like the weights are set right at the limit of my abilities for 4 sets at 8 reps per set. I’m hoping to finish out the week successfully and feel a little intimidated at the thought of next week when the weights go up and the reps go down to 5 per set.

changeBut after work on Friday, my parents should be arriving for a visit. I’m sure they’ll make some comment about my weight or physique. They haven’t seen me since last December, almost a year ago, so it’ll be interesting so see how they’ll describe the difference between what I looked like back then and now. After all, I hadn’t even started strength training the last time I visited them.

I’m wearing the Lou Ferrigno “Change” t-shirt at work today. No one’s mentioned anything about it yet, but I’m sure I’ll take some “heck” for it from a few people, probably my boss and office mate for starters. But it represents my philosophy for doing strength training. Like the quote from Fred DeVito says at the top of my blog’s main page, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

There can be no courage unless you’re scared.

Eddie Rickenbacker


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